Live blog of Village Council meeting, Feb 16, 2010

The Council meeting is taking place tonight because of the President’s day holiday yesterday.
8:05 p.m.
Housing: No smoking allowed in Noble Pines. Is an area outside where smoking is allowed.
Harbor: Wants to schedule a Harbor meeting before March 8 to discuss citizen comments.
Chief Miles has started publicizing that Breathalyzer cost will go up to $4 on March 1.
A baited trap was set at the sewer treatment plant captured a ram, ewe and lamb.
Regular Council meeting on March 1.
Special meeting on March 8 about Dam Beach improvements.
7:55 p.m.
Green ER Day: Much planned including a film on May 16 at noon at the Cinema. On May 17, showing for kids, Council meeting at theater Film “Water Life” Many other plans. “Super Recycling Day” on Sat. May 15 with many more items accepted at the usual location. Street tree and shrub plantings possibly on May 17 of donated plants. Will be an environmental essay contest. Will be a government yard sale. Possibly a school class will work on our community garden.
Attorney selection: Bob Orschel explained about the interview process and would like questions from Trustees.
Update on broadband: Need a survey of underserved and un-served areas; a process is underway to accomplish this survey.
7:45 p.m.
OK for Garden Club to sell refreshments on path near the Island House during the Garden Walk.
Staffing was added to the agenda.
President Reszka wants to implement a process for staffing justification. Has been considerable discussion among Trustees. Many ideas in the mix. Perhaps a work session is the right way to proceed. A work session is scheduled for April 20 at 6 p.m.
7:35 p.m.
Consent Calendar
(Tribe Grant for in-car camera for police car.)
DPW January report was pulled off.
Trustee Francis had questions about equipment rental. Ron Ridge said garage work and building maintenance. Park expenses were for maintenance of refuse containers in Village. RE: general – everything else.
Consent Calendar approved.
President Reszka stated that some of the comments coming in about the Dam Beach Improvement have implied that this proposal is a “done deal.” Is not the case.
Village Manager Peterson has a request regarding March 8 public hearing about Dam Beach. Peterson wants to work in parallel about original Dam Beach parking lot proposal as a contingency, so that could have time for publication and a separate public hearing. Bob anticipates submitting the same proposal with more work on the new Universal Access guidelines that are now in place.
7:25 p.m.
Resident Bob Bassett had a question about transfers between street funds. Peterson explained the complicated process.
Public Hearing was closed.
Trustee Schuler asked about the estimated 3% decrease in property assessments. Peterson said that the estimate is based on a look at recent sales of homes.
Trustee Francis explained that his upcoming no vote is based on the lack of justification for parts of the budget.
Trustee Janisse is looking forward to future staffing discussions and said that it is the reason for his upcoming vote.
President Reszka explained that, for the government to continue to function, a budget must be passed. The final millage will be set in June. A budget can be amended at any time during the year.
Budget passed.
7:10 p.m.
Have been several adjustments to the budget since the last meeting.
President Reszka stated that the budget process started back in October.
Public Comments:
Elaine Glowicki — Cutting staff is not an easy solution. Village is a big business. We have a big asset regarding retention, saving training money.
Terry Miller commented on police staffing and the excellent study by Doug Bronkema showing police expenses in neighboring communities. It is a good first step in a complete justification of police staffing. But what if all communities suffer from an excessive fear of crime, driving up all budgets? So more work is necessary to arrive at justification for the proper number of police.,
Barb Mullaly asked for clarification of changes in police overtime. Bob Peterson answered that adjustments have been made.
Health care costs came up. Peterson explained that premiums can vary depending on individual circumstances.
Elk Rapids News Editor Tom Vranich asked about sewer charges regarding sludge removal. Peterson explained the complexities of that and the Harbor Fund.
7 p.m.
Minutes approved.
Second Public Hearing on Budget:  Village Manager Bob Peterson gave out hard copies of presentation last time.
General Fund: $1,086,809
Revenue sharing has been steadily dwindling and will be less than last year.
Millage rate history: Down about 2 mills over last 5 years. A decrease in property values is assumed, but the final millage will be set when property taxes are set.
Municipal Street Fund: $187,251
Local Street Fund: $137,330
Major Street Fund: $165,925
Refuse Fund: $161,790 (no longer includes recycling expenses)
There are many other funds in the total budget.
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More than a lifelong connection to Elk Rapids
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